Stacy D. Phillips ’83
As the founder and managing principal of a small family law firm in Los Angeles, Stacy D. Phillips ’83 has represented a long list of celebrity clients in their high-profile divorce, paternity, and custody cases. Phillips’ work with Britney Spears landed her in People magazine, and she has made many television appearances.
Phillips comes from a family of lawyers. Her grandfather, Louis Phillips, was the founder of the New York law firm Phillips Nizer, while her father, Gerald Phillips, is a prominent entertainment attorney turned mediator and arbitrator.
Because of her family background, it was almost expected that she would become a lawyer, but Phillips never thought she would start her own firm. “I didn’t know I had that kind of entrepreneurial drive,” she says. “Yet, in high school, I had a business printing custom stationery and invitations. So, in that sense, I was an entrepreneur.”
After graduating from Columbia Law School, Phillips clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California before working at Wyman, Bautzer, Rothman, Kuchel and Silbert, and then at the Beverly Hills boutique family law firm Jaffe and Clemens. She founded the firm that became Phillips Lerner in November 1990.
Representing Darcy LaPier in her high-stakes child-support battle with Jean-Claude Van Damme was Phillips’ big break. “I was a very young lawyer, but was successful in achieving for my client the highest-litigated child support award in the country at that time,” she recalls. “That opened a lot of doors.”
Phillips, who wrote the book Divorce: It’s All About Control (now in its sixth printing), is a natural-born networker who built upon her initial success by attracting more clients, earning greater publicity, and committing to an array of philanthropic endeavors. “I like to introduce people to people,” she says, “and one thing feeds into another.”